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Posted on Mon, Sep 28, 2009 : 5:48 a.m.

Two Ann Arbor Pioneer High School students ace the ACT

By Ann Dwyer

Many of us may prefer to forget the ACT. 

But for two students at Pioneer High School, the American College Test has become a source of pride. 

Spencer Johnson and Jacob Postema both managed to achieve the highest score, 36, on the test that can make or break chances of college admission. Both students excel in school and have bright futures - even if they aren't certain what that future will be.

Dwyer Spencer Johnson.jpg

Spencer Johnson

“I don’t have any idea yet,” said Johnson, 16, when asked about his college and career plans. 

At this point, he's considering history or political science.

With a grade point average a shade under a perfect 4.0, Johnson has his sights on heavy-hitting colleges such as Yale, Columbia, and the University of Chicago.  

At first meeting, Johnson appears quiet but relaxed. These traits extend into the classroom; but according to his teachers, they give way to a seasoned intelligence and maturity. 

“Spencer waits for the right moment, and then he unleashes brilliance,” said Shawn Ashley, who taught Johnson in his AP English class.

Johnson said it wasn't that difficult for him to achieve the perfect score. 

“I didn’t really study much,” he said. He did, however, use the online practice materials that Pioneer had bought for the students’ use.

Dwyer Jacob Postema.jpg

Jacob Postema sitting in AADL garden.

Jacob Postema, on the other hand, credits study aids such as the Princeton Review for helping him achieve his score. 

“I just studied that for a bit, so I knew how the test would go,” said Postema, 17.

Postema also has a nearly perfect grade point average, admitting he received a couple A minuses in the past. He is considering applying at the University of Michigan, Rice, and Stanford. 

Postema, like Johnson, is unsure what he wants to major in, but he's considering something in the science field.

Laurie Hochrein, Postema’s former calculus teacher, credits his natural interest in learning as the secret to his success. 

“Jake sometimes had the look on his face as though he was opening a present when he discovered a new mathematical idea,” she said.

When asked their advice for future ACT takers, both students stressed de-stressing the test. 

“It’s not that hard if you know what the test is all about, which is why books like [the Princeton Review] are so helpful,” Postema said.

“People worry way too much about these things, I think,” shrugged Johnson.

Ann Dwyer is a freelance writer for Reach the news desk at or 734-623-2530.